I was lucky to be a member of a small audience last week at the delightful Norwich Playhouse, I sat in awe as 80 year old Sir Ian McKellen ended his show by bounding past me and up the auditorium stairs, leaping up 2 at a time. To mark his 80th year, Sir Ian is in the middle of an epic tour of modest sized theatres across the UK, celebrating his life and career in the theatre and film industries. The energy emanating from this man was truly electric. Were it not for his wrinkled façade I should have guessed that he was nearer 18 than 80. More Sprite than Wizard, he skipped about the stage, hopping onto a stool one minute and then springing out of a giant box the next. His stylish sense of fashion and suave demeanor only added to his impressive presence as he stood on the stage brandishing Glamdring, the very sword he had used in The Lord of the Rings films. THIS is the 80 year old I’d always planned to be. THIS energy, THIS enthusiasm, THIS level of agility. But somehow I didn’t even make it to 30 before I could no longer run up the stairs.
I am in the incredibly fortunate position of being able to see A LOT of shows. Some, like this one, leave a far more lasting impression than others. Seeing Ian McKellen recite lines from projects as diverse as Shakespeare, Tolkien and even Pantomime has to be right up there with my experience of singing along to ‘Do Re Mi’ with Julie Andrews and the whole of the O2. Life can’t always be this awesome, but when it is you have to grab hold of it and cling on.
What have I taken from this experience? Well, apart from the obvious buzz that is still fizzing strongly in my excitable brain, this show has given me a renewed passion for living and for staying active. I’m sick of not being able to do things; I miss running up stairs, I miss jumping out of boxes, I miss my bounce. And so, I’m going to dig out my sword and my wizard hat as I prepare to set off on my very own quest across Middle-Earth in search of my old bounce.
I’ll let you know how I get on…